I usually collect bullion coins for an investment (And because I like them! And I am hoping that I never have to sell anything)
But I was thinking about picking up a few morgans, but I really dont know to much when it comes to numismatic stuff. How do you know what a coin is worth? After taking grading and rarity into account?
I know you can check prices on eBay and such. But lets say you walked into a coin shop, and saw a graded morgan for 200$, how do you know if this is a fair price or not? Would you look up the prices on eBay and see what they are going for?
And how do these prices fluctuate over the years? Are they likely to be worth more in 20-30 years? Sorry if these questions sound silly. I am just thinking about getting some morgans and figured I would do some research starting here!
Numismedia.com is a great place to start for the value of a coin. eBay isn't the place to look up a value due to the fact that its a hit or miss site. They are most certianly going to be worth more in 30 years. Grading is the hard part different books can teach you what to look for and how to grade. But it can be subjective most of us end up posting pictures on here if we aren't positive about the grade or to brag a little.
How close/accurate do you think these are? For example, If somewhere it says that the coin is worth 70$, and you find it for 65$, is that a decent deal? Thanks for the quick info though, I'm still looking through the site :D
Numismedia is a wonderful comparative tool for gauging relative value between specific issues. It's my belief that they're rather optimistic compared to real-world pricing. For instance, they list a FMV for 1898-S Morgan at $680 in MS64, and they're going for less than $500 at Heritage. That was just a random stab at one selected date on my part, but it tends to agree with many "random stabs" I've made at that list in the past. As one decreases the value of the coin, one sees Numismedia becoming more accurate.
So the following questions come to mind: How much do you wish to spend on individual coins? What's your tolerance for being "off the mark" when it comes to price paid? Nothing trumps knowledge.Any published price guide is going to be off somewhat, if only because of the turnaround time to create new data, and the potential vested interest in high prices on the part of the publisher (see "PCGS Price Guide"). The only true guide for pricing is knowing what real people are paying in the real world, today, for such coins. I know this isn't the easy answer, but it's the truth.
One advantage you'll enjoy is that Morgans have collector value in addition to intrinsic metal value, and despite the current high price of metals, Morgans are not particularly "spiked" right now in terms of upper-grade prices where collector value overshadows base metal content.
Your best bet if you're going to purchase Morgans is to narrow your focus to the subset of them where you can reasonably carry current values in your head.
Please excuse me if I'm preaching to the choir. I've had too much coffee tonight.
First decide if you want to be a precious metals investor or a coin collector. Even nicer if you can do both. The security of bullion/junk AND the pleasure of owning fine collector coins is sweet if we can manage it. Most of us can do both even in small ways for paupers like myself. Just dont confuse the two. A commodity (silver) is cash in the coffee can while a MS 68 Morgan is a luxury bauble.
PMs are a good investment (IMO) while a collectable coin is a vanity purchase like a fine piece of art or jewelry. Something to show off to friends. Just like fine art, it may or may not appreciate beyond yearly inflation.
Consider.. the 1921 Morgan dollar is one of the most common silver dollar coins. In very nice condition and strike (up to about MS63) though a lovely coin, it is still only worth the silver content or perhaps a couple bucks over. That is currently about $25 common price $27-30. Now take that ordinary 1921 Morgan worth little as a collectable coin simply because millions exist, and find that particular individual is a one in a million perfect strike and survived handling to the extent it merits a MS67 or 68 grade. NOW you have something that by its rarity far exceeds the value of its millions of lower graded brothers. It is no longer just 90% silver, it is a rare and very collectable Morgan. Still not hugely expensive but compared to the others worth a lot.
Likewise a 1893 Morgan in a worn out abused low grade is worth little--- unless--- it happens to be from the San Fransisco mint! Now that beatup old dollar is worth three-four thousand just because there arent many survivors even in the lowest grades and in higher grades the sky is the limit.
If our world turns upside down and paper money is seen for what it is and we have to use PMs or other -real- resources for food and energy, my one and only 1893s Morgan will not buy 3000 loaves of bread because no one will give a rats butt about its relative rarity. To them it will represent just one silver dollar (.77 oz silver) and will buy but one loaf of bread. It will never regain its collector value until we all are prosperous once again and can afford to buy luxuries. Until that happens junk silver will rule.
Quote: how do you know if this is a fair price or not?
See Biggfredd's answer. It's a matter of experience. Yes you can look up a coin to see what the current value is but having to do that for every coin you look at is a pain. Someone with experience collecting the series will be able to judge the grade more accurately and will have a good feel for what the current value is.
Value is in the eye of the beholder. Clear vision is everything. Just like any other item for sale there is:
wholesale value retail value perceived value expected value actual, without the beer goggles, value
Thankfully most of us dont keep accurate records of what we paid for individual coins. And then we have selective memories about that. LOL If we did keep records, I suggest that if we look closely, about a 1/3 of the coins in any collection, representing the first few years of collecting experience, will be found to have been purchased for well over what we might consider reasonable today. The next few years and 1/3 of the coins will be found to have been bought at more reasonable for the coin prices and in the last 1/3 of most collecting careers we will find much nicer coins that were possibly purchased well below market value simply because experience has instilled a more realistic expectation of what the price SHOULD be. We have become wiser shoppers. We live and learn and hopefully we get wiser with experience. Following sales on eBay, TeleTrade and Heritage is quick, simple, and entertaining and reveals what people are willing to pay TODAY, not yesterday or tomorrow.
There is no such thing as a "wont see it again at this price great deal" Another coin just as nice and for the same price or lower will be there next week. Just keep the VISA in your pocket while doing your research.
Quote: Quote: But lets say you walked into a coin shop, and saw a graded morgan for 200$, how do you know if this is a fair price or not? Would you look up the prices on eBay and see what they are going for?
If you have to ask, you shouldn't consider buying it.
So, a fairly inexperienced buyer of coins joins the community, steps into the conversation and asks a fairly basic but reasonable question for someone new to the hobby, and the reply is not exactly welcoming or helpful.
Fundamentally, it is one of the basic questions in this hobby but not always easy to answer. Do you use The Red Book prices, preferably not, how about the online price guides from a TPG, only for a sense of full retail. How about looking at recent auctions and the prices a similar coin brought?
There isn't a single source or any right answer until a price is offered and accepted. Considering each Morgan combination of date and mint mark has a different price point for each grade, add in the potential increase for a "star" designation, VAM designations, GSA, Redfield collection, Binion Collection, CAC sticker, etc., there are easily thousands of potential price points in the entire Morgan series.
I have never met a single dealer or experienced hobbiest that can quote a price or know the value of every Morgan out there. Most dealers reach for their copy of the Gray Sheet for ask / bid which in and of itself isn't always accurate.
IMO, a new Morgan collector needs to be able to differentiate between common dates, better dates, and rare date Morgans. Next, understand the differences between the grade scale such as XF, AU, MS 60 vs MS 65, etc. Third, understand who are the key and preferred third party grading companies. Fourth, combine the understanding of the above and know why an 1886 MS 65 is far different from say an 1879 CC MS 65.
IMO, I would suggest a new collector not purchase raw coins if they can help it. There are too many variables (date, mm, grade, cleaned or not, dipped or not, rim dings, etc) to get right on a raw coin to know you are paying a fair price.
Yes, this takes experience and knowledge gained only from years of reading, making mistakes, asking questions, watching auctions, and possibly posting a reasonable question on a BB and hoping to receive a reasonable response.
I would also suggest looking at the realized prices for Heritage Auctions. They deal with lots of Morgans, though usually the higher graded ones. If you sign up (for free), they'll also let you look at certain population reports and suggested values.
as far as the prices fluctuating, they don't really usually go up or down with the spot prices unless they are in the lower MS grades of most dates or in the AU and lower grades of others. The key dates are always going to bring more money than the others but those are never effected by spot price even in the lowest grade. There are some dates that you can get MS-62 and below for about spot price, and these are graded examples I am referring to. It really takes experience to judge what a specific coin is worth in a specific grade. If you can grade and do have a local coin shop around you, then you can find ungraded examples for allot cheaper than their graded counterparts but this also takes experience. I would suggest for you to study which Morgans are key dates (there aren't that many of them) and then start searching for what a common date/mm in MS-64 down has been selling for and use that as a guide. That way you will know a key/semi key date when you see it and know its going to be worth more than a common date, and if the coin isn't one of these you has some information to go by to know if its an alright deal or not. Morgans have allot of different variables and experience is pretty much the only way to know what is what and sorry to say there is no real shortcuts for those but most common date coins pretty much follow the same prices as the other common dated Morgans all the time, so once you have learned what that price is you will know where you stand until you do get that experience you need
I'm a little surprised that nobody has mentioned the all-hallowed Red Book.
If you're thinking about ANY numismatic investments, pick up a Red Book at your local B&N for $15 or Amazon for about the same. Whitman's Guide Book of United States coins is an easy reference to get an idea of what you're looking at. NO, it's not exactly correct, but you'll be able to tell if the dealer's asking price is in the right ballpark. GENERALLY speaking, coins sell for 20-30% below Red Book.
ALSO - do not take his first offer! Almost every dealer out there has an over-priced label so that when you ask for a better deal and the knock down the offer well below their sticker, you feel good - like you're getting a good deal. In truth, you're probably getting closer to a fair deal.
This isn't bullion - this is the arena of traders - of dealers - not just exchanging commodities for cash. So if you can show you know something about what you're looking at, you're likely to enjoy a little haggle if you want it.
Great deals are to be had, so go find them. And get what you love!
--- For the record, as far as I'm concerned, the scarcer the better. In other words, buy what you can afford. If you're set on a date, get the best grade of that date you can afford, not just whatever is offered to you first. When collecting and "investing" in numismatics, GENERALLY the more expensive the coin, the better the investment. That is, all things being equal and the price being "fair".
In other words, buying 3 $200 Morgans or 12 $50 will likely NOT generate the return over the long haul of 1 $600 Morgan. This is not bullion investing, this is numismatic, scarcity investing. So do your research, study the price guides, compare trends over time as you gather information, and get one or two much better coins rather than many not so good ones. The not so good ones will appreciate EXACTLY THE SAME AS YOUR BULLION. So there's no fun in that, and worse, it's not a more diverse portfolio. =)
I'm NOT an investment advisor, so what do I know? Probably nothing, so take this all with a grain of salt. Most of all, HAVE FUN!
OH - and another thing where Morgans are concerned.
DON'T BUY TONED UNTIL YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING!
I'm talking about pretty patina or tarnishing, if you haven't heard the term or you have but you don't know what we're on about.
Some Morgans are a beautiful glossy black, some are rainbow colored, some are blue... Unless the grade on the holder matches the price (roughly), don't buy it! Don't be tempted into a beautiful Blue Morgan that you just gotta have that's 10x the market price because of its toning.
Some Morgan collectors are specialists in this area. I presume we're talking about investing, and there's a lot more shakiness in the investment in toning. Some toning is natural, some toning is artificial - BUT MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL - there's no fixed price for toning! Toning's value is in the eye of the beholder. So if you want a solid investment, skip the toned Morgans.
ALSO learn the difference between cleaned/polished and mint luster prooflike, deep-mirror prooflike and semi-prooflike.
If you want to buy an MS-68PL make sure it's certified as such. And make sure the person you buy it from has an excellent return policy, and post pictures of it here IMMEDIATELY after purchase so we can tell you if it's legit or not!
There are some easy noob mistakes to fall into, I'd hate to see you commit them and then hate the field of numismatics. It's really wonderful, but as with all things, there are pitfalls to watch out for.
And those pitfalls are NOT fun, no matter how hard you try. =)
Oh, well there ya go, it never rains but it pours. To answer your question about market values 20-30 years from now...
Investment grade Morgans GENERALLY start around $500 (book value of about $600). GENERALLY. There are some that can be bought for $200 or even less, but... that's tough and dicey for a noob to figure out which ones.
By investment grade, I mean they double in value every ten years.
Anything less than investment grade, the will generally do better than bullion, but it's hard to say exactly how much.
MOST common date Morgans below MS will stick around bullion value. Key Dates can be as little as Good and do well.
Quote: So, a fairly inexperienced buyer of coins joins the community, steps into the conversation and asks a fairly basic but reasonable question for someone new to the hobby, and the reply is not exactly welcoming or helpful.
I don't see where I can be any more helpful than telling someone who knows little about coins not to consider buying a $200 coin if he doesn't know what he's doing. There are people here who have collected Morgans for years who would be cautious about such a purchase.
Bottom line, learn what you're doing, make small purchases (and small mistakes, because you will make mistakes), learn from them, and graduate to bigger purchases.
No different than the general advice not to clean coins, as I see it.